More than 30 Shortridge Magnet High School students in grades 9-11 have published original poems, stories and essays in a new literary magazine, Exclusive Ink. Butler student and faculty volunteers helped the younger students develop and refine their pieces during on-going after-school creative writing workshops, also called Exclusive Ink.
“It was one of our stated goals, for the kids to have something to give to their families and friends,” said volunteer Chris Speckman, a graduate assistant in Butler’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program. “It’s proof that we’ve reached the students. We got them to buy into the whole idea that creative writing could be fun.”
The after-school program is an outgrowth of the MFA’s larger Writing in the Schools program, in which 33 Butler MFA and undergraduate students completed service learning requirements by tutoring Shortridge students on writing skills and assignments during the school day.
The magazine “represents a whole year’s worth of work,” drawn from more than 100 entries, Speckman said. “We’ve seen everybody get better at writing, push themselveves.
Several Shortridge teachers worked with Butler mentors to find ways to integrate the Writing in the Schools platform into their classroom curriculum. Everyone involved was pleased to see that many Shortridge students who were active participants in the Exclusive Ink group made noticeable improvements in their writing test scores.
On the Writing in the Schools blog , volunteer Melissa Rangel shared how much she enjoyed the Exclusive Ink sessions: “I stay as long as I possibly can because the kids are great. They’re so smart and passionate! I’m always spilling over with compliments for them.”
When Butler classes ended in early May, a smaller team of volunteers continued work with the Shortridge writing programs, which continued for another month. “It shows just how dedicated they are,” Speckman said.
Student Writers Win Awards,/strong>
Three Shortridge students involved in Exclusive Ink received external awards for writing in spring 2012. Sophomore Zuri Palmer took top prize in the Etheridge Knight Youth Poetry Contest, open to the students throughout Indiana.
Eighth-grader Daezy Gilder and sophomore Jodeci Byrd won honors in the first Booth Tarkington Prize for Young Writers competition, sponsored by the Butler Bridge program. Sponsored by the Butler Department of English, Butler Bridge offers community writing workshops for area students in grades 3-12.
“The awards show that there is really good work in Exclusive Ink,” Speckman said. “It does translate to outside of Shortridge.”
Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson